Five of the worst, yet intriguing, jobs in movie history

By Brian Jenkins, Guest Blogger from

If you think you have a horrible job, remember: it could actually be worse. What if your boss was actually the Devil, or what if somebody at work had a hankering for your liver? Any one of these jobs would compel you to run to the nearest employment agency.

A “Cooler”

In “The Cooler” (2003), Bernie Lootz (William H. Macy) has the depressing task of crushing the winning streak of happy gamblers in a shady Las Vegas casino. His loser vibe is so powerful that he’s actually employed to destroy the luck of hot gamblers by simply standing next to them. He’s such a loser that even his cat left him.

The movie has an interesting twist. After Bernie falls in love with Natalie, a charming cocktail waitress, his luck changes — he’s no longer a big-time cooler and actually becomes quite the opposite. I won’t spoil the movie, but let’s just say his boss Shelly (Alec Baldwin) has an ingenious plan to deal with Bernie and his unexpected good luck.

Crime Scene Cleaner

In the dark comedy “Sunshine Cleaning” (2008), the heroine Rose (Amy Adams), a single mom desperate to make money, establishes her own ghoulish business: cleaning up messy crime scenes. Rose and her sister, Norah (Emily Blunt), have the unenviable task of cleaning up blood and body parts. Fortunately, the movie includes some macabre humor, however it’s not for the squeamish.

Rose, a former cheerleader, actually finds fulfillment in her work. She states: “We come into people’s lives after a terrible event. We take away all this terrible stuff, restore order, and in our own way, make things better.” Perhaps, but selling frozen yogurt in a shopping mall might be a better way to earn money.

In real life, a crime scene cleaner job doesn’t attract many people, but employers actually reject candidates who show signs of voyeurism or a great enthusiasm for gore. Candidates also have to pass a “gross factor test” to make sure they can handle the work.

Corporate Raider

In “Wall Street” (1987), the despicable corporate raider, Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas), a man of unrestrained greed, ruins companies and peoples’ lives for money and fun. Gordon says, “Greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right. Greed works.” He would have no problem telling the Occupy Wall Street crowd, “I’m part of the one percent, I’m your master, stop whining, go back to your soon-to-be-foreclosed homes and have a bowl of steam for dinner!”

Did you know Gordon Gekko was referenced in a speech given by former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd? “Today we are still cleaning up the mess of the 21st-century children of Gordon Gekko,” Rudd said.

Lawyer Employed by the Devil

The lawyer-bashing movie “The Devil’s Advocate” (1997) postulates that the devil is among us as John Milton (Al Pacino), the boss of a powerful Manhattan law firm. I know, I know, you’re probably thinking, “Well, duh.” In real life John Milton is the man who wrote the landmark poem “Paradise Lost” about man’s expulsion from the Garden of Eden.

Milton recruits lawyer Kevin Lomax (Keanu Reeves), a master at selecting juries that don’t convict. Lomax is also willing to do just about anything to help his sleazeball clients avoid jail, but a person could make a strong case that working for the devil is going a bit too far.

The clueless Lomax doesn’t see the red flag dipped in evil when he enters Milton’s tastefully decorated yet Satanic looking office. You’d think entering Milton’s penthouse lair with its Purgatory artwork and a huge roaring fire would make Lomax think twice about working for Milton. Even the firm of Dewey, Cheatum and Howe probably looked less evil by comparison. Instead he takes a case defending a man accused of sacrificing goats in his ghetto basement. Not surprisingly, he’s not pleased when he finds out what the heck happened with his beautiful wife (Charlize Theron) and when he finally realizes Milton is the Devil.

The film drips with cynicism about lawyers — the Devil claims that nobody on earth could do his bidding better than a highly trained group of attorneys. “The Devil’s Advocate” is part supernatural thriller, part character study and part morality play, and it ends with an operatic climax.

Primary Care Giver for Insane Murderer

In the suspense thriller “Silence of the Lambs” (1991), Barney Matthews (Frankie Faison) has the wonderful assignment of being the primary caretaker of the evil serial killer Hannibal Lecter, one of the scariest prisoners on the planet. It’s no fun taking care of an arrogant, mass murderer/cannibal who can’t wait to make a scrumptious meal out of you. A “nice” Chianti would certainly pair well with your properly prepared liver.

Yes, the brilliant but deranged psychiatrist has his good traits — after all, he did “have an old friend for dinner,” that friend being the despicable Dr. Chilton.

Here’s an interesting fact about the movie: the pattern on the butterfly’s back in the well-known movie poster is not the natural pattern of the Death’s-Head Hawk Moth, but is actually Salvador Dali’s “in Voluptus Mors,” a painting of seven naked ladies made to look like a human skull.

Do you know of a job that deserves to be on this list?

As a writer for, Brian Jenkins writes about a variety of topics related to jobs and careers.

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